Dear Parish Friends
Tomorrow is Ascension Day, and with that in mind the study group this evening looked at the last chapter of St Luke’s gospel, which telescopes the whole of the period from the resurrection to the Ascension into a single day. I would like to share a thought from what we read.
This chapter includes the story of Cleopas and his companion (possibly his wife) on the road to Emmaus. They were full of disappointment that Jesus had died and, what they had thought Jesus would do, fulfil the Jewish ideal of a Messiah, had not come to pass, but bewildered at the seemingly fantastical story that the women at the tomb had told. As Jesus spoke, and broke bread with them they have an ‘ah-ha’ moment, when suddenly things make sense and they see the purpose of what had happened. Often we feel that we don’t know what is going on, and question what, or if God is doing. We should be encouraged that Jesus will speak a word of life to us, at the right time, and affect a transformation.
I am reminded here of the famous story of John Wesley. His early missionary endeavours in the colony of Georgia had met with disappointments so he returned to London. He recalls in his journal that he unwillingly attended a sermon on the book of Romans in Aldersgate and there “about a quarter before nine…I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation.” This experience stayed with him and sustained him in all he did, despite the conflicts that surrounded him. Perhaps, when things feel tough, we can recall a moment when we felt a sense of clarity, of God’s presence with us.
There will be an Ascension Day service tomorrow (Thursday) evening at 7.30 on Zoom. We will share readings, music and prayers. A service sheet for this is attached and I look forward to seeing you online.
The Ascension Day readings include this verse from Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” This is Jesus’ commission to his disciples, and by implication to us all. Our parish group that encourages our awareness of this global mission, and the contributions that we can make, takes its name from this verse. It is very appropriate therefore that we will have a meeting of the Acts 1:8 group this Sunday after the service (have a break and then re-join Zoom at 10.30am). Anyone who is interested is welcome to join us.
Don’t forget that this Sunday is the deadline for contributions for the June issue of ‘Church News’.
An Emmaus Road prayer:
Meet us, Lord, on the road to Emmaus,
Guide us on the path toward our destination,
and renew our strength as we continue to walk
and commune with you.
Open our eyes, so we see the signs of your presence around us;
Open our hearts, so we may receive your peace and love;
and empower us to pass on to others
the grace you have shared with us so freely. Amen.
With blessings for the week ahead.
Yours in Christ